Trump’s Russian connections

In yesterday’s discussion about whether the Russians, who apparently hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails–see this for the evidence (HT: Tom Hering)–are trying to manipulate our election, reader Rustbeltrick cited another source that listed direct connections between Donald Trump and the Russian government.

According to Josh Marshall of Talking Point Memo, Trump has long been dependent on Russian investments for his businesses, including from investors with strong ties to Vladimir Putin.  Perhaps more to the point, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was a top advisor to the pro-Russian president of the Ukraine, whose ouster was the catalyst for the Russian intervention.  Trump’s foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, has for his whole professional life been working for Russian interests.  And there is more.

True, Marshall is a liberal journalist and maybe has a Democratic axe to grind.  But I would think the employment history of Manafort and Page is a matter of public record.  Also the investors in Trump’s business dealings.

Are Trump’s Russian connections something to be concerned about?  Or does it not really matter? [Read more…]

Are the Russians manipulating the U.S. election?

Researchers are concluding that it was the Russians–indeed, a Russian intelligence agency–that hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails and gave them to Wikileaks.  Which raises the question:  Is Vladimir Putin working to get Donald Trump elected?

Not only have the two expressed admiration for each other.  A Trump presidency would clearly be in Russia’s self-interest.  Trump threatens to leave NATO and has said that he might not defend NATO members if they are attacked, with specific reference to the Baltic Republics, which Putin has his eye on.

 Is Trump a Manchurian candidate?  Certainly, Democrats are already spinning that narrative.

Is this just a Cold-War style conspiracy theory?  Or could there be something to it?

[Read more…]

Trump may not defend NATO allies

Donald Trump said that he may or may not come to the defense of a NATO ally if it were attacked.  Never mind the treaty commitment that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.  He said that the US action would depend on whether or not the country “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

He was referring specifically to what he would do if one of the Baltic Republics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) were invaded by Russia.

Remember that Trump and Vladimir Putin have something of a mutual admiration society.  What would the international scene be like if the United States allies itself with Russia, instead of Western Europe?

[Read more…]

Russia forbids evangelizing outside of church

A new Russian law forbids evangelizing except within a church service.  This includes using e-mail or other online communication.  It even outlaws private evangelistic conversations within one’s own home.

This is not the work of Godless communism.  It comes out of the Russian Orthodox Church and its resistance to “proseletyzing” on the part of Western Protestants and Roman Catholics. I wonder what would happen, under this law, if a devout Orthodox Russian tried, over glasses of vodka, to persuade an old-line Communist to embrace Orthodox Christianity.  I suspect this would be allowed.  My impression is that the Russian Orthodox Church considers all of Holy Russia to be its domain, even among the unbaptized.  But I don’t know.

 Ironically, the recent Great and Holy Council of the orthodox, the Russians not attending, put out a statement affirming religious liberty that pointedly did not include “the right to convert.”  I’d love to hear from Orthodox readers about why this is.

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Liberals who now work for Putin

Remember Ed Schultz, the liberal talker on MSNBC, who praised all things Obama and Clinton, and who ridiculed Trump and condemned Vladimir Putin (whom he called derisively “Putie”)?  Well, now he works for RT America, Putin’s propaganda cable network.  Now he has nothing good to say about Obama and Clinton and is now, at his new master’s behest, praising Trump.

Larry King, the former CNN icon, also works for Putin.  So does Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, professional wrestler, and radio talk show host.  (He is arguably not a liberal, but was something of a populist precursor to Trump, on the state level.)  Also working for Putin is, disturbingly, Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s equivalent of the CIA.

Michael Crowley has a story about this in Politico, excerpted and linked to after the jump.  He also discusses the connections between Putin and Trump. [Read more…]

The Panama Papers, Vladimir Putin, and the Clintons

The Panama Papers are the records of a law firm that specializes in setting up secret bank accounts, offering tax havens and money-laundering services to the rich, famous, and corrupt.  Investigators are still combing through those recently-leaked documents.

But one thing that has come out is a connection between the Vladimir Putin-controlled Russian bank whose subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere are involved in these shady dealings, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and her chief fundraiser, his brother Tony Podesta. [Read more…]